Air Canada is Canada's largest airline and flag carrier. The airline, founded in 1937, has had its corporate headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, since it moved from Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1949. Air Canada provides scheduled and charter air transportation for passengers and cargo to 160 destinations, with its largest hub at Toronto Pearson International Airport; it also provides vacation packages to over 90 destinations via Air Canada Vacations. The company is the world's 7th largest passenger airline by fleet size. The airline's parent company is ACE Aviation Holdings. Air Canada is a founding member of Star Alliance, an alliance of 20 member airlines formed in 1997. In 2006, 34 million people flew with the airline. The following year, Air Canada celebrated its 70th anniversary. Air Canada is a public company with 340 million USD market capitalization.
Air Canada's predecessor, Trans-Canada Airlines (TCA), was created by legislation of the federal government as a subsidiary of Canadian National Railway (CNR) on 10 April 1936. The newly created Department of Transport under Minister C. D. Howe desired an airline, under government control, which linked the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. Using $5 million in government seed money, two Lockheed L-10 Electras and one Boeing Stearman biplane were purchased from Canadian Pacific Airlines. Experienced airline executives from United Airlines and American Airlines were brought in.
Passenger operations began on 1 September 1937, with an Electra carrying two passengers and mail from Vancouver to Seattle, a $14.20 round trip. Transcontinental routes from Montreal to Vancouver began on 1 April 1939, using 12 Lockheed L-14 Super Electras and six Lockheed L-18 Lodestars.
On 1 July 1938, TCA hired its first flight attendants, and by January, 1940 the airline had grown to about 500 employees.
In 1942, Canadian Pacific Airlines suggested merging with TCA. Prime Minister Mackenzie King rejected the proposal and introduced legislation regulating TCA as the only airline in Canada allowed to provide transcontinental flights. With the increase in air travel after World War II, CP Air was granted one coast-to-coast flight, and a few international routes.
Originally headquartered in Winnipeg, which was also the site of the national maintenance base, the federal government moved the headquarters to Montreal in 1949; the maintenance base later also moved east. With the development of the ReserVec in 1953, Air Canada became the first airline in the world to use a computer reservation system with remote terminals.
By 1964, TCA had grown to become Canada's national airline, and in 1964 Jean Chrétien submitted a private member's bill to change the name of the airline from Trans-Canada Airlines to Air Canada. This bill failed, but it was later resubmitted and passed, with the name change taking effect on 1 January 1965. In a late 1970s, with reorganization at CNR, Air Canada became an independent Crown corporation.
Deregulation of the Canadian airline market, under the new National Transportation Act, 1987 officially opened the airline market in Canada to equal competition. In 1988 Air Canada was privatized, and 43% of its shares are sold on the public market.
On 7 December 1987, Air Canada became the first airline in the world to have a fleet-wide non-smoking policy, and in 1989 became completely privatised. It sold the enRoute card business to Diners Club in 1992. Air Canada is a founding member of the Star Alliance, which was launched in May 1997. The airline code-shares with several of the alliance's members.
On 2 September 1998 pilots for Air Canada launched the company's first pilots' strike. At the end of 1999 the Canadian government relaxed some of the aviation regulations, aimed at creating a consolidation of the Canadian airline industry.
On 1 April 2003, Air Canada filed for bankruptcy protection; it emerged from this protection on 30 September 2004, 18 months later. During the period of bankruptcy protection, the company was subject to two competing bids from Cerberus Capital Management and Victor Li. The Cerberus bid would have seen former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney installed as chairman, being recruited by Cerberus' international advisory board chair Dan Quayle. Cerberus was rejected because it had a reputation of changing existing employee pension agreements, a move strongly opposed by the CAW. At first, Air Canada selected Victor Li's Trinity Time Investments, which initially asked for a board veto and the chairmanship in return for investing $650 million in the airline. Li, who holds dual citizenship from Canada and Hong Kong, later demanded changes to the pension plan (which was not in his original takeover bid), but since the unions refused to budge, the bid was withdrawn. Finally, Deutsche Bank unveiled an $850-million financing package for Air Canada, if it would cut $200 million in annual cost cutting in addition to the $1.1 billion that the unions agreed on in 2003. It was accepted after last-minute talks between CEO Robert Milton and CAW chief Buzz Hargrove got the union concessions needed to let the bid go through.
ACE Aviation Holdings is the new parent company under which the reorganised Air Canada is held.
On 31 October 2004, the last Air Canada Boeing 747 flights landed in Toronto and in Montreal, ending more than 30 years of 747 service with the airline. The Boeing 747-400 fleet was replaced by the A340 fleet.
On 19 October 2004, Air Canada unveiled a new aircraft colour scheme and uniforms. A Boeing 767-300 was painted in the new silver-blue colour, and the green tail was replaced with a new version of the maple leaf known as the 'Frosted Leaf.'
On 9 November 2005, Air Canada entered into an agreement to renew its widebody fleet with Boeing by purchasing 18 Boeing 777s (10 -300ERs, 6 -200LRs, 2 777 Freighters), and 14 Boeing 787-8s. It also placed options to purchase an additional 18 Boeing 777s and 46 Boeing 787-8s and -9s. All of the 777s will be powered by the GE90-115B engine, and the 787-8s, by the GEnx engine. Deliveries of the 777s began in March 2007 and deliveries of the 787s are to begin in 2010. As the 777s are delivered, and as the 787s are delivered, it will gradually retire all Boeing 767s and A330-300s.
In November 2005, Air Canada, in an experiment to reduce aircraft weight and increase fuel efficiency, removed the paint and primer from a Boeing 767-233ER. However, the cost of the aluminum skin polishing and treatments turned out to be greater than the cost of the fuel saved, and the result was regarded as aesthetically displeasing.
On 24 April 2007, Air Canada announced that it has exercised half of its options for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The firm order for the Dreamliners is now at 37 plus 23 options, for a total of 60. This makes Air Canada the largest customer of the Dreamliner in North America and the third largest in the world (behind Qantas and All Nippon Airways). It also announced that it has cancelled orders for two Boeing 777Fs. In November 2007, Air Canada announced that it will lease an additional Boeing 777-300ER from ILFC. In addition, the Chinese Xinhua News Agency reported that BOC Aviation signed a contract with Air Canada on 19 March 2008 to lease two additional Boeing 777-300ERs to the airline. The number of 777s now on order totals 20 (14 -300ERs, 6 -200LRs) with options for 16 more, totalling 36.
Air Canada has also taken delivery of 15 Embraer 175s and 45 Embraer 190s. It holds options on an additional 60 Embraer 190s. These aircraft are being used to expand its intra-Canada and Canada/USA routes. Additionally, some of the Embraer 190s will replace older A319/A320s.
Started in July 2006, and scheduled to be completed by early 2009, Project XM: Extreme Makeover, is a $300-million aircraft interior replacement project to install new cabins on all aircraft. New aircraft such as the Boeing 777 are being delivered with the new cabins factory installed.
New cabin features include:
Air Canada Jazz operates feeder and commuter services for Air Canada to 89 destinations in Canada and the USA. 62 of these are served exclusively by Jazz.
|Route||Start Date||End Date||Equipment|
|Vancouver Osaka-Kansai||25 October 2008||Boeing 767-300ER|
|Vancouver Sacramento,CA||25 October 2008||CRJ 100/200|
|Toronto Santiago Buenos Aires||29 November 2008||Boeing 767-300ER|
|Toronto Santiago||1 December 2008||1 April 2009||Boeing 767-300ER|
|Toronto Buenos Aires||1 December 2008||1 April 2009||Boeing 767-300ER|
|Montreal St. Lucia||22 December 2008||Airbus A319|
|Montreal Santa Clara||23 December, 2008 [Seasonal]||Airbus A319|
|Toronto Santiago Buenos Aires||2 April 2009||Boeing 767-300ER|
|Calgary Los Cabos||20 December, 2008 [Seasonal]||Embraer 190|
|Ottawa Santa Clara||21 December, 2008 [Seasonal}||Embraer 190|
|Toronto Samana||21 December, 2008 [Seasonal]||Airbus A319|
|Toronto Santa Clara||20 December, 2008 [Seasonal]||Airbus A319|
|Vancouver Montego Bay||19 December 2008 [Seasonal]||Boeing 767-300ER|
|Airbus A319-100||35||120 (14/106)||North America |
|Project XM completed|
|Airbus A320-200||41||140 (20/120) or 146 (14/132)||North America |
|Project XM completed. New 146 cabin currently being outfitted fleet-wide.|
|Airbus A321-200||10||174 (20/154)||North America |
|Project XM completed|
|Airbus A330-300||Project XM Fitted |
1 (in hangar at YUL)
|274 (42/232)||Atlantic |
Honolulu (beginning late 2008)
|Project XM to be completed by the end of 2009 |
|Boeing 767-200ER||7||207 (24/183)||North America |
|Project XM will not be implemented |
Exit from service October 31st, 2008
|Boeing 767-300ER||Project XM Fitted |
|Project XM Fitted |
Hawaii (Beginning Late 2008)
|Project XM completed (Except fins 687/689/690) |
Project XM will not be implemented on fins 687/689/690
Fins 687/689/690 exit from service 2008
Replacement aircraft is B787-8 from 2012
|Boeing 777-200LR||6 ||270 (42/228)||Atlantic: London-Heathrow |
Pacific: Sydney, Hong Kong , Shanghai-PVG (non-peak), Beijing (non-peak)
Domestic: Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver
Project XM factory fitted
|Boeing 777-300ER||9 |
|349 (42/307)||Atlantic: Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt, London-Heathrow |
Pacific: Tokyo-NRT, Hong Kong, Shanghai-PVG (peak), Beijing (peak)
Domestic: Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver
|Project XM factory fitted|
|Boeing 787-8||(37 orders)||Atlantic |
|Project XM factory fitted |
To enter service in 2012
|Embraer 175||15||73 (9/64)||North America||Project XM factory fitted|
|Embraer 190||45 ||93 (9/84)||North America |
|Project XM factory fitted|
Air Canada Jazz has a separate fleet consisting of 133 all-Canadian aircraft as of June 2008:
|Bombardier CRJ 100ER||24||50|
|Bombardier CRJ 200ER||33||50|
|Bombardier CRJ 705||16||75 (10/65)||Project XM completed|
|Bombardier Dash 8 100||34||37||Twin-Turboprop|
|Bombardier Dash 8 300||26||A:48|
Air Canada was the first airline to operate a jet freighter with the introduction of the DC-8 and was the first major airline with an all turbine fleet, which allowed an increase in productivity and reduction in maintenance costs. Air Canada was also one of the first airlines to have its entire fleet of unpressurised aircraft equipped with fixed oxygen systems for use by flight crew and passengers, using the rebreathing bag principle.
The following is a list of aircraft that Air Canada has operated since 1937, and are now no longer in the fleet (click on link for a photo):
|Boeing 747-200M (Combi)||1975-1999|
|Boeing 747-400M (Combi)||1990-2004|
|Canadair North Star||1946-1961|
|Douglas DC-8-40 -50 -60 -70||1960-1983|
|McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30||1966-2002|
|McDonnell Douglas DC-10 From Canadian Airlines||1971-2001|
|Lockheed Super Constellation||1954-1963|
|Lockheed L-1011 -1 -15 -100 -500||1973-1996|
|Lockheed Model 10 Electra||1937-1941|
|Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra||1941-1949|
|Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar||1941-1949|
Air Canada has two classes of service on all aircraft. On longhaul international routes, Executive First and Economy Class are offered. Shorthaul and domestic routes feature Executive Class and Economy Class.
Air Canada Jazz features two classes of service, Executive and Economy Class, on CRJ-705 aircraft only. All other Jazz aircraft are one class service (Economy Class).
Executive First / Executive First Suites is Air Canada’s international business class product.
Executive First Suites (Project XM) are available on all B777-300ER and B777-200LR aircraft and all B767-300ER aircraft except fins 631, 687, 689 and 690. Fin 631 is scheduled to be fitted with Executive First Suites (Project XM) by the end of 2008. Fins 687, 689 and 690 will not be fitted with Executive First Suites (Project XM) and will be retired. Executive First Suites are also available on one A330-300, fin 938. The remaining seven A330-300s will be fitted with Executive First Suites (Project XM) by the end of 2009.
Executive First (Original) is available on the remaining four B767-300ERs, seven A330-300s and two A340-300s.
Executive First Suites (Project XM) feature electronic flat beds, in a 1–1–1 (B767-300ER) or 1–2–1 (all other aircraft) herringbone configuration with a 21-inch (0.53 m) seat width and a 6-foot-3-inch (1.90 m) seat pitch. The configuration is similar in layout to Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class Suite and Air New Zealand's Business Premier Class product. Entertainment is personal AVOD (Audio Video On Demand), while music is provided by XM satellite radio. Self-service bar areas and mood lighting are available on all B777-300ER and B777-200LR aircraft.
Executive First (Original) features electronic recliner seats reclining to 151°, with a width of 21 inches (0.53 m) and a pitch of 57 to 60 inches (1.45 m to 1.52 m). Seat configuration is 2–2–2 on Airbus aircraft, with 1–2–2 or 2–2–1 seating on the 767-300ER aircraft, depending on tail fin. Entertainment is personal AVOD (Audio Video On Demand) on Airbus aircraft and B767-300ERs (in the form of DVD players on the B767-300ERs). Music is provided by XM satellite radio.
Seat configuration varies between 1–2, 2–2 and 2–2–2 depending on the aircraft. Recline is around 120°, 124° or 130°, with a width of or and a pitch of to .
On aircraft fitted with Executive Class (Project XM), all seats feature AVOD and the new style cabin interiors. On aircraft fitted with Executive Class (Original)—the B767-200s and B767-200ERs—main screen entertainment and the old-style cabin interiors are offered. Music on both types is provided by XM Satellite Radio.
Seat configuration is 2–2–2, with seats having a recline of 130°, a width of and a pitch of . Main screen entertainment is provided. Music is provided by XM Satellite Radio.
Seats are pitched to with a width of to and a recline to around .
On aircraft fitted with Economy Class (Project XM), entertainment is personal AVOD (audio-video on demand). On Economy Class (Original) aircraft, main screen entertainment is offered. Music on both types is provided by XM Satellite Radio.
Air Canada offers a variety of meals on intercontinental routes, depending on seat class, destination and flight length. They do not offer food on most Canadian and US flights, but do offer hot meals and snacks on flights longer than five hours. A selection of cold food has been made for purchase on-board, paid in either US or Canadian dollars. Beverages like coffee, tea, juices and soft drinks are still free on domestic/US flights, but passengers are required to pay for alcohol.
Movies and music are available on all flights, with newer aircraft/new cabins offering audio/video on demand in-flight entertainment. This on-demand format is planned for all Air Canada aircraft and offers more than 200 hours of video and audio entertainment. Head sets are provided for $3 on domestic flights but are offered free of charge to international long haul passengers and can be kept for future flights, with noise reduction headsets available in Executive First and Executive First Suites.
Newspapers and magazines are available to all Executive and Executive First passengers on Air Canada flights. Air Canada's in-flight magazine, enRoute, is provided to all passengers on all flights.
The female cabin crew wear a midnight blue suit jacket with a narrow skirt both lined with blue lining. The jacket sports a red Air Canada maple leaf motif on the left blazer pocket flap. The uniform is composed by a sky blue blouse, sky blue sweater, a frosted leaf graphic design on a red or blue scarf.
The male cabin crew wear a midnight blue suit jacket with suit trousers both lined with blue lining. The jacket sports a red Air Canada maple leaf motif on the left blazer pocket flap. The uniform is composed by a sky blue shirt, midnight blue waistcoat, a frosted leaf graphic design on a red or blue tie.
These lounges are open to passengers holding Executive First, or Executive Class tickets. Super Elite, Elite, and Star Alliance Gold passengers can also use the lounges. Prestige passengers may have access for a small fee, and so can members of Air Canada Maple Leaf Club, who pay for an annual membership.
Aeroplan is Air Canada's frequent flier program. Miles are awarded to members, and can be used to purchase tickets on any Star Alliance airline, or other partners, such as some hotel chains. They do have a status system, as follows:
Prestige- Star Alliance Silver Status awarded. minimum 25 flights or 25,000 miles. Elite- Star Alliance Gold Status awarded. minimum 50 flights or 35,000 miles. Super Elite- Star Alliance Gold Status awarded. minimum 100 flights or 100,000 miles.
The number of miles is based on status miles (on ticket) in one calendar year.
Air Canada Cargo Limited Partnership offers cargo services on domestic and transborder flights, utilising the cargo capacity on aircraft operated by Air Canada and Jazz on domestic and transborder routes. Air Canada offers cargo services on its international passenger flights and also uses chartered, all-freighter aircraft for Canada Europe and Canada Asia services. (Subsidiary of Air Canada)
In the past, Air Canada Cargo operated its own dedicated fleet of DC-8 freighters and currently operates a World Airways MD-11 freighter from Toronto(YYZ), Canada to Frankfurt(FRA), Germany. Orders for 2 Boeing 777-200F's were in negotiations but that order has since been cancelled.. However, the MD-11 Freighter Service between Toronto (YYZ), Canada and Frankfurt (FRA), Germany has been terminated since July 2008,
In 2001, Air Canada consolidated Air BC, Air Nova, Air Ontario and Canadian Regional Airlines into Air Canada Jazz. Air Canada Jazz was spun-off starting in November 2006. ACE Aviation Holdings is no longer a shareholder of Jazz, making Jazz Air an independent company.
Launched in 2002, Air Canada Jetz is a charter service targeting sports teams, professional entertainers, and corporations. Air Canada Jetz fleet consists of 5 A320 aircraft in an all business class configuration.
ACTS is a full-service Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) organisation that provides airframe, engine and component maintenance and various ancillary services to more than 100 customers. Major bases are in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver. (Majority owned by Kohlberg Kravis Roberst & Co.)
Air Canada Vacations offers sun, cruise and leisure vacation packages to the Caribbean, Florida, Hawaii, Mexico, Las Vegas, Central and South America, and Asia. (Subsidiary of Air Canada)
Note: * indicates Star Alliance partners
|29 November 1963||Flight 831*||McDonnell Douglas DC-8, stalled on takeoff out of Montreal-Dorval International Airport. All 118 lives were lost on board, making it one of the deadliest air disasters in Canadian history.|
|19 May 1967||n/a||McDonnell Douglas DC-8, crashed and burned on a training flight while making a three-engine landing at Ottawa, Ontario. All 3 crew members were killed. There were no passengers on the flight.|
|5 July 1970||Flight 621||McDonnell Douglas DC-8, exploded from a fuel line rupture caused by engine 4 striking the runway in Toronto, Ontario during the first landing attempt. All 109 passengers/crew were killed.|
|26 June 1978||Flight 189||McDonnell Douglas DC-9, overran the runway in Toronto after a blown tire aborted the takeoff. Two of 107 people onboard were killed.|
|2 June 1983||Flight 797||McDonnell Douglas DC-9, had an electrical fire in the aft lavatory during flight, resulting in an emergency landing at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. During emergency exiting, the sudden influx of oxygen caused a flash fire throughout the cabin, resulting in the deaths of 23 of the 41 passengers, including Canadian folk singer Stan Rogers. All five crew members survived.|
|23 July 1983||Flight 143||Boeing 767, glided to an emergency landing in Gimli, Manitoba after running out of fuel 12,500 metres (41,000 ft) above Red Lake, Ontario. No one was injured. This incident was the subject of the TV movie, Falling from the Sky: Flight 174, starring William Devane, and the book, Freefall, by William Hoffer.|
|16 December 1997||Flight 646||Bombardier Canadair CRJ-100, went off the end of the runway upon landing in Fredericton, New Brunswick. There were no fatalities.|
Air Canada Expands Leading Position in New York City with Inaugural Flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport.
May 29, 2012; Air Canada flight AC8902 today inaugurated service between Toronto Pearson and John F. Kennedy International Airport, making the...